Newbie question on wetplate backs

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by Colin Corneau, Jan 17, 2018.

  1. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber
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    Hi all,
    I've not shot a wet plate or tintype (yet!) but I wondered if I might get some clarification on question that could get me into the process.
    I came into possession of a Kodak Century No.4 5x7 camera, with 2 lenses in board.

    The ground glass was, unfortunately, broken by a mover. The camera, bellows and lenses are just fine. I got this camera with the fanciful idea that I could do wetplate 'someday'...my question: am I able to simply buy a new back, expressly for wetplate, for this camera to replace the ground glass/back that originally came with it?
    If I can do that, this camera can be dedicated to collodion. But, I'm not sure IF that's possible or if so, WHERE to do so.

    Any help or advice gratefully appreciated! Thanks!
     
  2. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser
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    hi colin
    im not a tintypist ( nor do i play one on TV ) but ..
    you just will need to replace your ground glass ... and convert or
    buy wet plate holders and then you will be set camera wise ..
    there is a whole other sort of thing you will need to do though
    buy/make a silver nitrate tank for saturating your plates with silver nitrate
    a device to test how your nitrate bath is doing ( hydrometer ? ) some collodion :smile:
    fixer and either metal or glass plates ..
    you might be able to find the john coffer manual on how to make them
    but people say it is sometimes easier to spend time with someone whose paws are already black...
    i've been on the verge for years but collodion makes me nervous !
    good luck!
    john
    ps. some people buy a box camera and paint the film gate with some sort of non-reactive paint
    so they don't spend a lot of $$$ on big plates but small ones to learn at first. bostick and sullivan used to
    sell starter kits with EVERYTHING ( including a little box camera ) to help get your paws, i mean feet wet.
     
  3. paulbarden

    paulbarden Member
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    Colin,
    As John has said, all you need to do is 1) replace the ground glass, and 2) acquire a wet plate holder for the camera. I recently acquired a 5X7 camera as well and all I had to do to use it for wet plate collodion work was to re-engineer one of the standard 5X7 film holders to accommodate wet plates. How did I do this? It was an older style film holder with two metal septums placed back to back inside the holder, so I simply took pliers and pulled out the septums. Then, I cut four clear plastic triangle pieces and glued them into the appropriate place in each of the four corners, creating corner pieces for the wet plate to rest on. I cut a small piece of plastic yogurt tub to make a 1" X 2" "spring" that is placed against the back of the wet plate (once its in the film holder) to hold it firmly in place when you close the film holder rear dark slide.

    All in all, its a very easy modification to do, and you don't need to modify the camera itself other than replacing the ground glass (which you can make yourself without too much effort, by the way)

    Paul
     

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    Last edited: Jan 17, 2018
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    Colin Corneau

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    I took the back off entirely. It's probably easier if I include a photograph of it as it now is.
    This is an interesting camera! It came with the original studio stand - heavy wood and metal stand, clearly meant for a leisurely life in a natural light studio somewhere! Oh, to have THAT life as a photographer....
     
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